Russian Website Names President 'Bulgarian Obama' over Remarks
An interview of Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev with Germany's Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung (FAZ) has sparked outrage in Russian media.
Plevneliv has been referred to as "the loyal servant of Brussels" by Federalnoe Agentstvo Novostey (Federal News Agency), with a piece reading he "traded friendship with Russia for defending EU interests".
Rossiyskaya Gazeta ("Russian Newspaper") says the incumbent Bulgarian head of state "decided to accuse Russia" of "all European (and not only European) sins," drawing on the example of US counterpart Barack Obama who worked "to bring maximum detriment to relations between the West and Moscow".
"Apparently, the presidents of the US and Bulgaria do not understand" their successors may act differently, according to the piece.
Ridus.ru, another Russian website, runs a headline: "Bulgarian Obama Decides to Kick Russia One Last Time", referring to his departure from the office in January and saying such behaviour is now "in fashion" among outgoing heads of state.
Russian news agency RIA has only quoted his words and has reminded readers he is leaving the office next month, with Rumen Radev, described by "several media outlets", as a "pro-Russian candidate."
For nearly five years of office, Plevneliev has often made critical remarks about Russia's involvement in Ukraine.
In the interview, cited by the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA), he spoke of strong evidence of "Russian funding" being allocated to anti-European parties in Bulgaria and across the EU.
He also pointed to frequent meetings of such parties' leadership and delegations in Moscow and to the trend of seeing more Russian that Bulgarian flags being waved at some public gatherings in the country.
Plevneliev accused Russia of seeking to undermine the EU "from the inside", including by spreading doubt about the values of democracy and rule of law.
The head of state scorned the idea that separate EU member states can go off the common policy line on Russia while pursuing "short-term economic or political benefit".
But he also downplayed the idea the victory of Rumen Radev in the presidential election (in which the incumbent head of state did not run) should be interpreted as a step toward rapprochement with Russia.
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